Breaking the Silence

After the internal armed conflict (1960-1996), the Guatemalan society today is still marked by high levels of violence, human rights violations and impunity. In this context women are extremely vulnerable. Their situation is characterized by unequal access to basic services such as education, healthcare, justice and political participation. The statistics on violence against women are alarming. Between 2001 and 2011, more than 4500 violent deaths of women have been reported. This phenomenon has cultural and historical roots. During the armed conflict, sexual violence was a deliberate and systematic practice of counter insurgency, aimed to destroy the dignity of women at the cultural, social and individual level. The survivors of sexual violence perpetrated by state actors are still suffering and feel stigmatized in their communities. To this date, the government has not fulfilled its obligation to investigate, prosecute and compensate these crimes.Council in Guatemala.

Since 2008, the Civil Peace Service in Guatemala has been supporting the project Breaking the Silence of the local organization Community Studies and Psychosocial Action (ECAP). The initiative focuses on psychosocial rehabilitation of survivors of sexual violence, their empowerment, and access to justice, as well as awareness-raising and promotion of human rights. The project´s objective is to contribute to an equal and democratic society by recognizing and denouncing political violence faced by women during armed conflict and facilitating a process that enables these women to assume leading roles in the transformation of their lives, community and their country.
This project was one of the top ten award winning teams of the 2012 GIZ Gender Competition.

For further information about any of the projects mentioned here, please write us at gender@giz.de.